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Federal Administrative Regulations

An overview of where Federal regulations are published, how to find relevant regulations, and how to make sure regulations are up-to-date.

About This Guide

This is an overview of federal administrative regulations — rules promulgated by federal executive branch agencies under authority delegated by Congress. This guide covers: where regulations are published; how to find them; how to update them. For advice about any aspect of administrative or regulatory research, ask a research librarian.

[For California Regulations, see the Zief Law Library's California Administrative Regulations guide.]

Overview: Federal Register & Code of Federal Regulations

These are some good free sources for the Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Register. See the boxes below for more sources for the CFR and the Federal Register.

Federal regulations that are currently in force appear in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

The Federal Register is published every business day and includes proposed rules, new final rules, and other administrative agency notices.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR): In-Force Regulations

Federal regulations that are currently in force are published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These are the major free and non-free options for the CFR. The final item on the list is the print version of the CFR, which is still available at the Zief Law Library.

Federal Register (Fed. Reg.): New Rules, Proposed Rules, Notices...

The Federal Register, which is published every business day, includes proposed rules, new final rules, and other administrative agency notices.

Practitioners follow the Federal Register to stay on top of new or changed regulations. And because proposed and final rules are accompanied by background information, the Federal Register is useful for researching the purpose of regulations.

These are the major free and non-free options for the Federal Register. The final item on the list is the print version of the Federal Register, which is still available (for the most recent 5-6 months or so) at the Zief Law Library.

Proposed Rules via Regulations.gov

Regulations.gov is optimized for researchers who want to see proposed rules, comment on proposals, and view background documentation on proposed rules. So, even though the Federal Register also includes proposed rules, consider starting at Regulations.gov for any project where proposed rules play a major role.

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